Nano Research

Article Title

Photoluminescence monitoring of oxide formation and surface state passivation on InAs quantum dots exposed to water vapor


epitaxial quantum dots, surface states, oxide, photoluminescence, quantum modeling, optical nanosensor


ABSTRACT The room-temperature light emission of uncapped III-V semiconductor quantum dots is used to investigate the properties and evolution of the surface under exposure to a humid environment. Enhanced photoluminescence intensity resulting from exposure to polar molecules has already been reported; here we demonstrate that the external environment also has a relevant effect on the emission energy of quantum dots. Experimental results are interpreted on the basis of a model of the quantum system that takes into account the formation of oxide on pristine III-V surfaces and the presence of surface states. As a result of our study, we can clearly distinguish the effect of surface oxidation from that of surface state passivation on the emission of InAs surface quantum dots. This work sheds new light on the properties of semiconductor surface quantum dots as building blocks of novel and highly efficient sensing devices based on optical transduction.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press